The day after he was evicted out of the Big Brother Canada 3 house, I had the chance to catch up with the ‘Ginga Ninja’ himself, Graig Merritt to discuss what happened. We talked about a variety of topics including whether he regretted his over-the-top strategy and if he wished that he pulled back a little and played more of an under-the-radar game. I also asked him whether he really believed that Johnny was the target (prior to Johnny winning the power veto). I asked him about why he seemed to clash with Johnny and Naeha so much and if he actually believed that Naeha was playing a Neda-type of game or if he just said that to put a bigger target on Naeha’s back. Graig discussed the evolution of the Chop Shop, how he was instrumental in its construction and why Godfrey was never a member. He also said that he wished he would have replaced Willow with Sarah or Naeha in the alliance. Finally, Graig talks about where his nickname came from and what ‘proper’ means.
As we now know, Graig has the chance to potentially return for a second chance and I asked her what him if he would even want to. Check it out!
Murtz Jaffer: Graig. Thanks for joining me. You clearly had one of the biggest personalities on the show this season. In hindsight, do you regret not flying a little more under the radar?
Graig Merritt: I wish I would have flew a little bit more under the radar in the Big Brother game… but I definitely wouldn’t change my personality. I am who I am. I’m very comfortable with who I am, but in the Big Brother game you do have to fly under the radar and I wish I would have just controlled my emotions a little bit better and yeah, that’s about it.
MJ: The plan to backdoor you was a big power move. In your interview with Arisa, you said that Brittnee’s plan shifted from Johnny as the target to you. Can you elaborate on this and when you feel this happened?
GM: Oh, I know exactly when it happened. I should have just trusted the Chop Shop alliance that we had. It’s something I learned in the house is to trust more. On Saturday (before the Sunday POV ceremony), I tried to go align myself… secretly align myself with Sarah, Brittnee and Johnny. Big mistake. I do regret that big time. I should have just trusted my alliance, let them vote out Kevin. We would have had a power player out in Kevin and the Chop Shop would be cruising along nicely as we speak… so that’s exactly when that happened was Saturday before the POV ceremony.
MJ: You seemed to clash the most with Naeha and Johnny. Why do you think your personality didn’t really mesh with theirs?
GM: I’m loud, outspoken, wear my emotions on my sleeve, honest, real… I think those people were the exact opposite of all those characteristics I just mentioned. So I know I’m not going to get along with everyone in the world. If everyone got along, it wouldn’t be a very good show for Big Brother, so they put us all in that house knowing that some of us would clash and my personality clashed with them just because I’m up tempo and they are more of down tempo type person.
MJ: How did the Chop Shop form and who would you say is the player that is the most responsible for putting it together?
GM: Good question. I know I started the Chop Shop. It was my goal, going into the house, to align with five to six people. For the first three days, I evaluated everyone. Bobby and I came up with the name. Bobby was like ‘we need Chop something’ and right as he said ‘Chop,’ I said ‘Chop Shop.’ We looked at each other, it was a homerun name. We loved it. It could have been and still may be one of the best alliances of all time (if I can get back into that house).
If I could do things differently, I wouldn’t recruit Willow into the Chop Shop. I would have grabbed either Naeha or Sarah (knowing what I do now), I would have grabbed one of them rather than Willow.
MJ: You had mentioned that Willow would not be part of the Chop Shop if you could redo it. Why not?
GM: Willow is an amazing individual but she is just all over the place. She is trying to get in with everyone. She talks too much. She obviously wasn’t too loyal to the Chop Shop. I know she was working behind our back on many different occasions and I know that was her game and her strategy. But I wanted someone a little bit more loyal than Willow in there.
MJ: Godfrey was not a member of the Chop Shop and yet you seemed quite close to him. Where did he fit into your strategy?
GM: Oh, I love Godfrey and he is definitely a guy I want to connect with in the outside world. When I recruited Godfrey, Godfrey’s game was all over the place. The first three days, he had a huge target on his back. The whole house wanted him out. He really changed his game after day three. He calmed down. He stopped talking to everyone. He is a great personality.
If I would have got to know him better (and maybe that was part of my problem [in] starting the Chop Shop a little too early). Maybe I should have evaluated all the housemates a little further before starting and made Godfrey part of the Chop Shop. But he wasn’t a part of the Chop Shop. I was using him and his vote going forward. He was definitely part of my strategy, but not a member of the Chop Shop.
MJ: You were accused of being a bully and definitely didn’t agree with the term. At the same time, you were always clear about who you wanted to leave each week. Do you think that some of the other houseguests misinterpreted you trying to control the vote as you bullying them into the voting the way you wanted them to?
GM: Yeah, absolutely. I know I’m not a bully. As I stated, I’m very comfortable with who I am and a bully is definitely not who I am. I was definitely trying to convince people to vote my way. Bullying to me is picking on people, name-calling people, I did none of that in the house. Did I want people to try and vote my way to help my game? Absolutely. But people are their own voice and their own opinions and they can do what they want and I didn’t bully anyone in that house.
MJ: You referred to Naeha as ‘Neda’ a few times while you were in the house. Did you really feel like she was playing a Neda-type of game or was this just your strategy to put a bigger target on her?
Graig: I absolutely think she was playing a Neda type of game. She had that look in her eye. She was always up late at night. She wouldn’t stop thinking game. It wasn’t a strategy. I honestly felt she was playing a ‘Neda’ type of game. She even made the comment once that she would shave her head to stay in the Big Brother game. Naeha has some of the most beautiful hair that I have ever seen on a woman and for her to say that she would shave her head to stay in the game? That put a huge target on her back, it showed the entire house where she was at with the game of Big Brother.
MJ: When Sindy left, she refused to hug you. Were you surprised that she did this?
GM: Absolutely not. I knew that she wouldn’t hug me. The night before the eviction, I had a 10 minute discussion with Sindy, apologized for some of my actions and behavior towards Sindy with the whole Camera-Gate incident. When we were done talking (the discussion the night before the eviction), I went to go hug her. I said ‘do you want to hug it out?’ She said ‘no.’ I knew she wasn’t going to do it. I knew she wasn’t going to hug me at that live eviction. I wasn’t surprised at all and she looked classless doing it… as I hugged no one as I left. [Laughs]
MJ: Do you think that the other players made a mistake in not keeping you? You are clearly a big threat that they could have used as a shield but Bobby might be a hidden threat and one who can win many competitions in the future…
GM: Yeah, I think Bobby will still have a big target on his back. Everyone knows he is great in endurance competitions, so I think they just kind of weighed both of those out with myself and Bobby. I know I would have had a huge target on my back. I tried to use that philosophy to a few players, but yeah, after the whole ‘bully comment,’ the house wanted me out. Bobby has been laying low, so yeah. I don’t really know what else to say about that.
MJ: Your exit was certainly memorable. Can you discuss where the ‘Ginga Ninja’ came from and what ‘Proper’ means?
GM: The ‘Ginga Ninja’ was just something I came up with a few weeks before I came into the house. I wanted something catchy. I have the red hair, ‘ninja’ and ‘ginga,’ they rhyme together. I was lying in bed probably two weeks before I came to the Big Brother house and it just clicked. I just kind of rolled with it. ‘Proper’ is a word that Godfrey says a lot, and it just kind of means ‘yeah!’ You know what I mean? Like when you want to agree with something, it’s a great word and instead of being like ‘true’ or ‘true’ or ‘yeah,’ it’s just Proper!!!
MJ: Finally, when Arisa told you that you might have a shot to come back, it seemed like you weren’t really into the idea of returning. It was the same sentiment you echoed to others in the house as well. If given the chance, would you want to come back or is it something you aren’t really interested in?
GM: I absolutely want to get back in the house. That was just a lot of emotion of being on the block and knowing that a 10- 0 vote was coming. A little bit of being homesick. A little bit of claustrophobia being in the house. Just had afew weak moments but my whole heart and soul and mind want to get back in the house, compete, and yeah start up some fire back in that Big Brother house.
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Tags: Big Brother Canada, murtz, Murtz Jaffer